Linktip: the worst social media campaigns of 2007

Over at the One Degree blog, there is a coverage of a panel from the SXSW interactive festival, during which the panelists were asked to vote on the worst social media campaigns in 2007. Amongst the panelists were bloggers like Jeff Jarvis and Steve Hall. I have to admit, I didn’t hear about all of these campaigns, but some of the bigger blunders (Walmart, Coke/Mentos and Sony) I did hear about, of course. I wonder what will be next for this year? You would assume, that (we) marketers learn…

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The first Digital Advertising trends for 2008

Just last weekend, when I was buying grocery for my farewell party from Frankfurt, I noticed that supermarkets already stock christmas cookies and bakery – but it’s only beginning of September…It starts earlier every year it seems, doesn’t it?

Giles Rhys Jones is also rather early: He already predicts the Digital Advertising Trends for 2008. The trends he lists are all about the changing agency landscape. And he’s right about them, I think. The way agencies will work will change (does change already). The skills needed will change, too.

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Marketing to Moms: Discovering a new target group online

In times of overmarketed standard target audiences, everyone is trying to find new potential in niche audiences. The new trend is not about a niche per se, because moms are a large segment in general. But not on the net. Online, this segment is not yet properly covered and targeted, even though some studies seem to point out the obvious.

In Germany, there are several sites competing for this apparently very lucrative target audience. Two that I know of are netmoms.de and mamiweb.de. Looks like there is a real run on covering this segment all of a sudden.

Caff now pointed me to several posts/stories about marketing to moms on the web:

The impact of her purchases or what she touts can spread on the Internet far beyond her e-mail list or blog. If your product or service passes the Alpha Mom test, it’s gold. That’s why the nation’s biggest marketers, from Procter & Gamble to General Motors to Nintendo, are focusing on this remix of the modern mom.

The combined study found that 69 percent of online moms subscribe to 1 to 5 retail emails. The study also reported that 86 percent subscribe for discounts and coupons. Also, online moms are more likely to click through emails that include product pricing (62 percent) and photos (61 percent).

When marketing to moms, you need to take advantage of the networks they build. Moms love to talk about what they’re buying, so if you have a good product or message, the word will spread. Virtually all new moms join some sort of play group or support group, so it’s wise to get your message across to these members.

If moms are your target market, you can forget about trying to buy their loyalty with cutesy graphics or long-winded offers. Today’s email-savvy moms respond to price discounts and free shipping in email messages from a handful of trusted senders.

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More on advertising on social networks via widgets

Some more ramblings on advertising on social networks, as I have written about it lately already: Sean Carton also thinks that advertising on social networks won’t work properly using regular ads. His point of why widgets might be the better solution (and I agree):

This is why widgets have been getting so much play lately: they don’t intrude on the user experience. Yeah, they’re branded. Yeah, they’re obviously a product of crass commercialism, but when done well they enhance rather than detract from the experience. They can become part of the conversation you’re having with friends and acquaintances, not an interruption of that conversation. Are widgets the answer to how advertising can work in social networking?

Not at all, but they’re a beginning. The answer will become apparent when we think outside of the ol‘ display advertising box and start to imagine ways we can work with the essential nature of social networking, rather than against it.

How can we join communities of interest in an authentically helpful way? How can we give consumers the tools to facilitate their conversations about our products or services (conversations they’re going to have anyway, with our without our help)? How can we help connect them to get help, advice, or suggestions from others (Dave Evans has a few good ideas)? How can we make it easier for true believers and brand fans to do the selling for us (or help recruit new fans)? How can we work with what’s going on rather than against it?

The question is, whether this is really a solution for all advertisers. Also, these considerations, same as the debate about the effectiveness of contextual ads only focus on the click rate as the only measure of success. I know, I know, we’re in the interactive space, so why go back to the old ad measurement models?

But then again, an eyeball is an eyeball and nobody can deny the value of attention of these eyeballs. Even if the click rate suggests failure, the message might have stuck. Don’t you think? Otherwise you would reduce the awareness and brand building capabilities of the online space to a story of how many people clicked, not how many people saw and remembered the message. That can’t be right, can it?*

But, going back to Seans point: yes, let’s rather entice the consumers with something of value. Something that provides this value at a point in time and (web-)space, where the consumer will most likely associate the best positive times with your brand because of your contribution to their needs and preferences. If it can be done best on social networks providing widgets (at least for now), then think of a good idea and go do it!

(*I am not oblivious at all to the fact, that interaction with the ads (i.e. clicking and interacting with the subsequent pages) will reinforce the message, make the whole awareness campaign x-times more successful!)

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Where did you loose 50% of your ad budget?

Marketing.fm wants to revise a famous quote by John Wanamaker:

Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half. -John Wanamaker, US department store merchant (1838 – 1922)

I know the quote, of course, as I suppose everyone in advertising does. But I didn’t know it was of someone as unknown as this chap. On the contrary, I was almost tempted to assign the quote to Mark Twain, purely because lately if feels like most thoughtful quotes come from Mark Twain, as if he is some sort of a quote-goat anytime people don’t know the real source.

In the same blog post, they write:

The advent of interactive media and online measurement has allowed marketers to target advertising messages much more precisely. Morover, it is possible to access comprehensive data on the viewers of your campagin: page views, geographic location, clicks, links, etc.
Is it time that we revised the 50/50 Wanamaker quote? Should it be more like 70/30 now?

I ain’t sure that the hard measurements that the web provides, should redefine investments alone. This might sound strange coming from someone working in digital marketing. But if you think about it: applying these measurements, you de-value the web to a purely interactional medium (which it is, most of the time, admittingly). However, by that you omitt all the effects of the contacts people have with your brand that cannot be exactly measured:

  • The impression an ad made with that one page view, even if the user didn’t click on it.
  • time spent interacting with the ad piece all together
  • triggered purchase consideration, fulfilled in brick&mortar store

Online Advertising can be measured and therefore it should be. Always.
But we should not forget, that there are so called key performance indicators that can help us understand the effect of advertising, and that can’t be measured by interaction, but purely by qualitative research. Asking the target audience about their perception of the brand, the channel interaction, etc.
Classical Advertising has been working with this kind of research all the time. And while it never helped to solve the puzzle of where the 50% of investments „got lost“, I think, purely relying on data measured through interaction, will not help either. It sounds more like a quick fix of Marketeers trying to answer tough questions by providing hard results – irrespectively of context.

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